Make a Milk Jug Shovel

I spotted a milk jug shovel online. Gasp! Given that I adore all things DIY, especially if they involve my recycling bin, I had to try this.

I dug and dug (pun intended…I love puns) for the original source of this spiffy idea, and nothing came up. So, as a public service to my amazing readers, I pulled this very simple tutorial together for you, with the help of my trusty 3-year old assistant.

Make a Milk Jug Shovel | TinkerLab.com

Thank you, little R!

Supplies

  • Milk Jug
  • Sharpie (or other permanent marker)
  • Scissors

Make a Milk Jug Shovel | TinkerLab.com

Draw a shovel shape onto the milk jug with the permanent marker. Use the photo (above) as a basic guide.

Make a Milk Jug Shovel | TinkerLab.com

Cut along the marker lines (simple, right?) until the shovel comes out of the jug.

Make a Milk Jug Shovel | TinkerLab.com

Take the shovel outside for some digging fun.

Shovel Tips

  • As you might imagine, the shovel is somewhat flimsy, which makes it a better tool for dry sand. The shovel will have more trouble digging up soil and wet sand.
  • Following up on the last tip, this shovel is great for emergency digging but I wouldn’t recommend this in lieu of a regular shovel since it’s not super-sturdy. Like, if you’re on vacation at the beach and you forgot a shovel at home, you might want to visit a local coffee shop and ask them for a milk jug.
  • Although it’s not the greatest shovel in the world, making one of these is still a fun exercise and introduces children to recycling cast-off objects into something new.
  • Try making shovels from different kinds of plastic bottles. How will they vary from one another?

Make an Easy Milk Jug Shovel | TinkerLab.com

RAD HEADSHOT

Rachelle is an arts educator, coach, and author of the best selling kids’ craft-meets-science book, TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors. Her articles and ideas on creativity and arts education have been featured in School Arts Magazine, Real Simple, and FamilyFun. Rachelle has an art studio in Palo Alto, CA  and leads an active Facebook group, Club TinkerLab, which is home to over 6000 maker parents and educators.

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Comments

  1. Katy W says

    Unfortunately in my area the milk jugs are extremely thin,so when I tried this it wouldn’t even dig in the sand! ;(

    • rachelle says

      Hi Katy, We had the same issue here with thin milk jugs. Ours could barely dig the sand, although it wasn’t a total loss — I edited the post to be more clear about that. Thanks for your comment!
      Rachelle

  2. says

    How clever! I think it is neat that the shovel can also be used as a funnel (or it looks like it can. From the scooping end it appears that the sand can funnel through the handle and pour out the back!)